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Life on Presidio Hill
Native peoples used this hill above Old Town long before the Spanish, the Mexicans and then the Americans came. A thousand years ago, the Tipai-Kumeyaay people lived in small groups on the flat area at the base of Presidio Hill.
While the Kumeyaay had contact with European explorers when Cabrillo sailed into San Diego Bay in 1542 and when Vizcaino entered the bay in 1602, the "Sacred Expedition of 1769" would change their lives forever. Father Junipero Serra planted a cross on Presidio Hill and founded San Diego's first mission there. Spanish soldiers established the presidio, or fort, and built several residences. This was the site of the first European settlement in Alta California.